Archive for May, 2012

Believing, as Abraham did!

The true essence of faith is something that is known only to a believing Christian. When Jesus warned His disciples to beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 16:6), what He may have been cautioning them against is very much what the world sees today as faith. The Bible says in Hebrew 11:6 that it is impossible to please God without faith but the spurious faith that the world has taken a grip of is a condescending joke that nobody wants to laugh at. This is precisely what the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees is all about, just as yeast makes a batch of dough rise, in the same way the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees is what works to raise and magnify: not God, but the person himself. We see so much of this in the world today, which sees the strength of a person’s belief/faith, in the person’s fasting, dietary regulations, physical mourning and rigorous praying. When the world looks at this so called faith, who exactly is exalted, it is the doer, the people doing it themselves more than the god/gods they worship. This is the yeast effect where the people are exalted and God; oh what about Him? The world thinks: He already has all the glory as God but it is not right, never was and never will be, that people use God for the convenience of exalting themselves: the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Let us take a look at faith going back as far as Abraham. The Bible refers to Abraham as the Father of many nations (Genesis17:5) and says that it was because he believed (had faith in God) that it was credited to him as righteousness (Romans 4:3). Let us look at some scripture.

Genesis 22:6-8
6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together.
7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”
8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.
9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.
10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son.

We see from the above, that this is a citation of the sacrifice God commanded of Abraham. Well, if you take a closer look, you will see that the faith that justified Abraham before God was the faith with which Abraham could foresee the Lord Jesus Christ and His redemptive work on the cross. You see! The actual word in Genesis 22:8 i.e. “provide for Himself the Lamb”, the actually Hebrew word used here is “seh say”, which literally means that God would push out of Himself a Lamb. It gets more interesting here, the word “God” in Genesis 22:8 is written as the Hebrew “El-O-Heem”, which is the name of Supreme God but El-o-Heem is a name denoted in Plural taken from the Singular El-o-Ah. This not only makes you see a Triune God in the faith story of Abraham but from the term “seh say” like the Hebrew “shaw-aw” meaning to rush to wastage making desolate, you see the very essence of why Jesus cried out on the cross in Mark 15:34 “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” One can thus vividly picture the faith Abraham had in the promise of justification that would be worked out for him on the cross (Galatians 3:6).

Wait! There is even more. We know according to the Bible that Isaac was born to Abraham in his old age (Genesis 21:2-3), considering at this time that Isaac was at an age where he could talk, carry the wood and climb the mountain (Genesis 22:2) himself upon which he was to be offered as a sacrifice, we can safely assume that Isaac had the strength to resist Abraham, while he got Isaac ready for the sacrifice but we see no mention in scripture of Isaac’s resistance, with which we can only more clearly see it’s reflection of Jesus’ work on the cross, where the Bible says that Jesus was taken like a lamb to the slaughter where he did not resist to the extent that he did not say even a word (Acts 8:32).

It must be understood that “time” is also a part of God’s creation and just as God is never bound by His creation so is He never bound also with time. The difference between the Saints of the Old Testament from Saints of the New Testament is that the people of the Old Testament were justified through the faith in which they held to the promise of Salvation that God would work out for them Himself (Psalms 119:123). While the saints of the New Testament are justified through the faith of God’s handiwork carried out on the cross (Romans 5:1, 9). The deliverance a Christian has from his sin can be compared to the deliverance of the Old Testament Saints from Egypt and the reason a Christian is commanded to remember in faith the saving work of the cross (Ephesians 2:12-13) is the same reason the Old Testament saints were told to remember the handiwork of God’s deliverance of His people from Egypt (Exodus 13:3) i.e. that the people may have a fearful reverence (Exodus 14:31) in their reconciliation to God (Ephesians 2:16).

We therefore see here that trusting in God in the midst of trial not only yields carnal quietness but magnifies and exalts our God over us. This truly is the faith of His Church: the believing body of people starting right from the Spiritual father of every Christian i.e. Abraham.

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Armour of God!

Though this world may seem to move from bad to worse, I know that God is as much as in control now as He ever was and as He will be forever. For as much as He is glorified in being a creator over creation, he is glorified is being a redeemer over His vessels of mercy and also glorified in His anger over His vessels of wrath. It is not for God or the Christian to worry as to what the world is coming to because God is Sovereign but it would be of much help to the Christian to wear the full armor that God has given him, to withstand days of peril.

Eph 6:13-17
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,

The “belt of truth” in verse 14 is something that fastens the armor of God upon the believer. Let’s read Rom 1:18.

Romans 1:18
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

Just as if I were to say that my glass is only filled half way or that my glass is still half empty would both be true, hence from Romans 1:18 we can also say “God’s mercy has been made known from heaven touching godliness and righteousness of men, who by their righteousness stands firm in the truth.” We therefore see that the breastplate of righteousness that is held-fast to us by truth protects our bosom so that our hearts entertain nothing else (Proverbs 6:24-27) other than God (Deut 6:5 and Jer 31:33). This, my friend is the mark of a people and belong to God.

From Eph 6:14, we see that the believer is called to have readiness to preach the Gospel as Jesus says in Matthew 28:18-20 that All Power has been given unto Him and we are therefore commanded to go into the nations and bring in the good news of Jesus Christ, the Gospel of peace! That the people may adhere to the One God in the Father, Son and Spirit, as He promised to remain with His people till the end of age.

Romans 10:13-15
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

About the shield of faith in Eph 6:15 that extinguishes the fiery dart of Satan. We know God Himself promised to shield Abraham (Gen 15:1) and it was because Abraham believed that it was credited to him as righteousness (Gal 3:6). The Bible also tell us in 1John 5:5 that it is in believing in Jesus in which we have the shield of faith that quenches the fiery darts of the enemy (1Peter 5:8-9).

Also, you are not fully sheltered if your head is not protected. For in this battle that happens for the time that God has decreed, a blow to head can prove to be fatal and if God has called you to receive His helmet of salvation (Psalms 140:7) then it implicitly implies that He will give you His full armor, which is a privilege the world has not seen.

Habakkuk 3:13
You went out for the salvation of your people, for the salvation of your anointed. You crushed the head of the house of the wicked, laying him bare from thigh to neck. Selah.

Finally, you also need a device of attack and what we have been given is the sword of Spirit i.e. the Word of God – The Bible, which is a weapon given to us by His Spirit in His wisdom.

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

I kept this for last; Brother/Sister now that you have seen the splendid Armor presented to you, here is its purpose:

Ephesians 6:11-12
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

If you think the opposition is big then this should console you: God controls the opposition! Do you know how some vaccines are made in the field of medicine? The actual virus is taken, made handicapped and injected into the body. The virus cannot really do much harm but what happens is that the body starts producing antibodies, which builds up the immune system against that disease and this is probably how God Sovereignly uses Satan and all his dominions to build God’s people.

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